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Sweat soldering when working with gold


#1

I would like to expand my jewelry line by adding gold to my silver.
I have had a lot of luck sweat soldering 20g brass pieces onto my 20g
silver and just love the effect and am now ready for gold ( partially
to satisfy the gold snobs out there plus I just want to try it).
Since gold is rather expensive and using 20g would probably be a
little over kill I would like to try a thinner guage, perhaps 28g or
30g if it is feesable. What problems might I have to deal with when
using gold or in this case a thinner gold? I had planned on using my
silver solder to sweat solder the pieces - any problems with that? I
had thought of using 14k but am also considering higher karats. I
don’t feel that the price would be that much different (in my
purchasing the gold) since I would be using small pieces to enhance
my designs. Plus if I use a higher karat I could justify the higher
price I would charge. Any difference working with different karats?
What do most buyers prefer? ( I have heard that the big buyers seem
to prefer 18k). My biggest concern is melting the gold before I
heat the silver up to temp. Any suggestions would greatly be
appreciated.

Elle (You all have been wonderful, love this site -
what a great lifeline!!!)


#2

Elle, you should be able to use 28 ga. (.013") 14k or 18k without a
problem. I think that you are right in assuming that most people would
prefer 18K, it certainly has a richer look and the price difference on
small pieces of 28 ga. is negligible. You can use your silver solder,
I would suggest using Easy. First fuse very small snippets to the gold
and then position it on your silver and then heat from below the
silver. When the solder reaches it’s flow point you will see the
piece of gold be drawn tightly to the silver. If you observe carefully
you will see a bright line of molten silver solder just at the edge of
the gold. Be careful not to use too much solder. If you are careful
not to overheat you should have no problems with the gold melting.
There is no appreciable difference in working 14k or 18k in this
situation.

Joel
@schwalbstudio
www.schwalbstudio.com


#3

Hello Elle!

Just go for it! Without seeing your designs and dimensional
challenges it is hard to qualify a reason why not add gold! My
experience is that it is the design that dictates the need for
accentuating with another color metal. If you have projects that you
feel will sell at a better price, no reason to wait. Just remember it
is the temperature of the metal that melts the solder, not the cone
of the torch flame. Just use a nice reducing to neutral flame with a
tip large enough for the breadth and thickness of your piece.
Polishing the pieces is more of a challenge than soldering on gold
parts. I might suggest 18k for the simple reason of color and
percieved value. It puts your work in a bit higher bracket than
two-tone work in 10 or 14k. Of course the higher melting temp. should
be an advantage for your apprehension in melting the gold when
soldering. The guage would have to be chosen in relation to the
individual pieces of silver you are soldering too. See if you can
show a jeweler what you’re planning and a recommendation should be
easy. Once you have done a project or two you will know how
compatable the two metals are when trying to combine and choose
thicknesses yourself. If you are only going to by a small amount
first, buy a thicker guage. Assuming you don’t have a rolling mill,
it can be rolled down to fit your needs for other projects. Find a
shop or jeweler who could do it for you. My mill has been used by
anybody who cares to ask since I have owned it.

Tim


#4

Elle, I use hard (silver) solder to fasten gold pieces to silver. I
usually melt the solder to the the silver first (not too hot - you
don’t want it to spread too much), and then place the gold bits. You
can proceed as you would normally, heating the silver all over until
the solder flows again. Only two tricks, really, don’t ever focus
the heat on the gold pieces, and don’t keep heating after the solder
flows (you risk puddley-looking edges to your shapes). I have found
that 18K and above are more predictable. Less likely to puddle if I
push the heat a little high. The color difference is more
marked, too. -Dana Carlson